In this introductory lesson, we discuss the general principles of modeling in TRACE 700. This lesson is intended for absolute beginners, but it is also useful for even the most seasoned users.
Let’s start by answering the question, 'What is TRACE 700?'
TRACE 700 is a Windows based program used to construct a virtual building, calculate it’s air conditioning loads and simulate its hourly operation over the course of 1 year. It can also perform a life cycle cost analysis.
There are a few things to remember:
TRACE 700 simulates a virtual building, but it does not display a visual image of the building. While this is a commonly requested feature, nearly all surfaces in TRACE are currently entered using two dimensions. A visual image requires additional input and thus more work.
TRACE 700 was first a load calculation program, and then an energy calculation program. While all energy-simulations must first calculate building loads, most energy-modeling programs do not accurately determine building design. Therefore, TRACE 700 can be used in both the design and the analysis phase of a project.
Nearly all things in TRACE are customizable. While we will get into more details later, know that all equipment, materials, and schedules are 100% customizable and can be created, edited and kept in the TRACE 700 library database.
Getting Oriented with TRACE 700
With that said, lets take a look at the program:
Upon first look, you will notice that TRACE 700 is broken down into several categories, each accessed by the click of a button. Upon clicking each category, you’ll see it’s divided into smaller increments called tabs. For those of you familiar with tabbed Internet browsing, this is a very similar concept.
Before we start inputting information we need to cover a few things. It is important to plan properly whenever doing a building design, an energy model, or both. I recommend to first familiarize yourself with the logic used in TRACE.
In the software, the virtual building is constructed incrementally. The increments align with the steps taken when constructing an actual building. This will be a central theme of our training, as this thought process is critical for success in TRACE 700 as well as any other energy modeling software. Remember, the steps required to construct a real building are about the same when constructing a virtual building. This means we use the same thought process as is used when making decisions, which helps us to understand these decisions.
So let’s start with a recently created project. We can start TRACE 700 by clicking the desktop icon, and yes, I would recommend keeping a desktop Icon. When we open TRACE, there are a few options. We can create a new file but in this case we are opening an existing file.
Upon opening the file, we see the general layout of the screen as we saw before. The remainder of this lesson will cover each of these buttons briefly, with later lessons providing further details.
If we look at the first button, labeled “project information”, we are simply defining the project which is really the first decision made when constructing any building. The only difference in TRACE is that it is not necessary to enter anything in the project information. However, project information helps to keep organized and will come in handy later when we look at multiple alternatives.
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